The Good Wife Season 5 Review “The Next Week”

Two weeks removed from finally letting the bomb go off inside of Lockhart/Gardner, The Good Wife has spent its time charting a new course for the show. Florrick/Agos continues to flounder while Lockhart/Gardner tries to flourish. Still, it was easy to imagine the show would return to business as usual once the dust settled. Instead, the show continued its run of subverting our expectations in the service of something far greater.

The “case of the week” started harmlessly enough, but the consistent turns of the case gave us a chance to reembrace Will to some degree after watching him stomp around like a petulant child for two weeks. Through all of the venom being spewed over the last two weeks, it became easy to forget how competent of a lawyer show The Good Wife can be. Josh Charles really looked tremendous as we watched him sink deeper and deeper into the case. I was surprised the case didn’t come to a conclusion within the episode, but I’m kind of excited to see what The Good Wife can do when one of their “normal” cases gets an opportunity to really breathe. It’s a nice little showcase for Charles, and he’s really looked great.

By contrast, the show took a lot of steps this week to nudge Alicia closer to the black hat. Her first appearance in the Lockhart/Gardner offices since her termination showed a side of Alicia I’m not entirely comfortable with yet. I do believe that was the point. The show is attempting a shake up. Nothing shakes up the show more than changing the way the audience views its lead character. Alicia’s not a force of evil by any stretch, but her extortion of Lockhart/Gardner is a low rarely sunk to by Alicia. It is as refreshing as it is jarring.

There were two things that cropped up during the episode that I thought didn’t work. First, there’s Alicia’s brother making his impassioned plea to Will in the hope Will will continue to pursue Alicia. I was pleased to see Will tell him it was over, but he lingered just long enough to give the Alicia-Will ‘shippers something to crow about for this week. The show’s writers are attempting to have their cake and eat it to just a bit too soon for my tastes. I’m happy they can exist in the same room as one another now, but let’s graduate to saying words to one another before we start talking about Will and Alicia again.

The other misguided storyline is tracking the suddenly attractive Grace Florrick. For starters, the show always struggles when the Florrick kids have standalone issues. The show can use them in other storylines effectively on occasion (i.e., Zack and the Governor’s race), but when they’re on their own it just seems pointless. That being said, the show’s insistence on turning Grace Florrick into an objectified girl is kind of creeping me out. It’s tough for any show to address a teenage character’s attractiveness without sounding really creepy. Despite it’s high gloss prestige, The Good Wife can’t pull it off either. It needs to stick with what works, especially given what works for them is working so splendidly.